Bloomberg gives $64 million to anti-coal campaign

October 18, 2017 by  
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The Donald Trump administration has made a lot of noise about bringing back coal . But with renewable energy soaring , and coal plants retiring, their efforts may go in vain – and a new $64 million donation from Bloomberg Philanthropies could facilitate progress towards cleaner sources of power. Michael Bloomberg , former New York City mayor and philanthropist, said, “The Trump administration has yet to realize that the war on coal was never led by Washington – and Washington cannot end it.” The Trump administration has decried the so-called war on coal. Maybe they didn’t realize pollution from coal-fired power plants used to kill around 13,000 people every year. 7,500 Americans still die from the pollution yearly, but the number is down since the Sierra Club ramped up their Beyond Coal campaign in 2011. Bloomberg’s $64 million will go to that campaign. Related: Renewables keep booming despite Trump administration’s attempts to axe Obama’s Clean Power Plan Bloomberg said the war on coal “was started and continues to be led by communities in both red and blue states who are tired to having their air and water poisoned when there are cleaner and cheaper alternatives available.” Since 2011, 259 coal-fired stations, almost 50 percent of America’s coal plants, have shut down. Beyond Coal aims to replace coal with solar , wind , or geothermal energy. Reuters said coal exports have increased this year, pointing to information from the Energy Information Administration, which said United States coal exports from January to July went up 62 percent, compared against the same time period in 2016. But coal-fired plants keep shuttering. Since Trump entered office, according to Reuters, 10 plants have announced closures, and just last week an energy company said they’ll be shutting down a Texas plant next year. Bloomberg has given over $100 million in total to the Beyond Coal campaign; their original grants helped the effort grow from 15 states to 45. + Beyond Coal Via Bloomberg Philanthropies and Reuters Images via Pixabay and Bloomberg.org on Twitter

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Bloomberg gives $64 million to anti-coal campaign

The Startup Using Crows to Clean Up Cigarette Litter

October 17, 2017 by  
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Just how big of a problem is cigarette litter? The … The post The Startup Using Crows to Clean Up Cigarette Litter appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The Startup Using Crows to Clean Up Cigarette Litter

How to Keep Plastics Out of the Ocean

October 12, 2017 by  
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You’re probably already aware that millions of tons of plastic … The post How to Keep Plastics Out of the Ocean appeared first on Earth911.com.

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How to Keep Plastics Out of the Ocean

EPA cancels plan to clean up polluting Texas coal plants

October 6, 2017 by  
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Big Brown, a coal -fired Texas power plant, spews out sulfur dioxide at rates as much as 50 times higher than coal plants fitted with newer technology. Under President Barack Obama , the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) aimed to clean up Big Brown and six other Texas plants in three to five years. But President Donald Trump’s EPA, headed by Scott Pruitt , just released a final rule that will enable these polluting plants to keep on pumping lung irritants into the air. Big Brown and the other six plants together generate more sulfur dioxide pollution than power stations from over 25 states combined, according to Sierra Club senior attorney Elena Saxonhouse. She wrote the former EPA had slated the stations for cleanup, “setting emission limits for sulfur dioxide consistent with modern scrubbers,” equipment that can yank out sulfur dioxide before it billows out of a plant’s smokestacks. The two boilers at Big Brown and nine other coal-fired boilers don’t have scrubbers at all. Four other boilers also part of the proposal do have scrubbers, but they’re from the 1970’s and don’t work as well as modern technology. Related: Trump administration halts study on health risks of living near coal mining sites But it seems Pruitt doesn’t care about harmful pollutants. He tossed out the proposed rule for a final rule Sierra Club described as a do-nothing plan, where Big Brown and the other plants can go on polluting as normal. Saxonhouse wrote in an article for Sierra Club, “Pruitt’s decision to scrap the proposed clean air protections fits a pattern of backward-looking decisions in this Administration , which has tied itself in knots trying to prop up the coal industry .” The cleanup plan would have implemented the Clean Air Act’s Regional Haze program. The proposed upgrades would have removed over 180,000 tons of sulfur dioxide pollution a year. One analysis found the proposal could have saved over 600 lives every single year. But the final rule means the coal plants can keep polluting, potentially leading to harmful health impacts for humans. According to Saxonhouse, “In making this about-face, EPA had to shove aside reams of technical and scientific data prepared by the previous administration, and ignore the legal framework of the Regional Haze program. And EPA failed to take any public comment on the new plan, despite the fact that thousands of citizens had written in to support the strong proposal.” Via Sierra Club Images via Larry D. Moore/Wikimedia Commons and Roy Luck on Flickr

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EPA cancels plan to clean up polluting Texas coal plants

Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

October 6, 2017 by  
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The homes of the future will be smart, responsive, and even save us money. University of Maryland students let us take a peek into what the future may hold with reACT, a smart sustainable home that rethinks architecture as living organisms. Created as a “kit of parts,” this modular solar-powered dwelling is likened to a home-building kit that can be easily shipped out and readily adapted to different needs and environments. Most impressively, reACT —short for Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology—is self-sufficient and generates clean energy, recycles waste, self-regulates its building systems, and even produces clean water and grows nutrient-rich foods. UMD students designed and built reACT for a married couple living in Denver, Colorado, who are also members of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. The solar-powered home draws inspiration from the clients’ Native American roots to demonstrate how reACT’s innovative building system with off-grid capabilities can be customized to unique occupant needs. Thus, the reACT prototype incorporates Native American influences such as materials, patterns, and even ancestral farming practices, which can be found in the hydroponic garden, exterior vegetable garden, and movable living walls. The modular design allows the homeowners to expand or contract the house as needed. “Team Maryland created Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology to showcase how a sustainable future is more than just designing a better built home; it is a lifestyle system that incorporates a home with its surrounding environment, interacts with its occupants, and strives to give back more than it takes,” wrote the students. “This lifestyle system is supported by regeneratively mindful innovations that can be seen and explored throughout reACT communications. A modular ‘kit-of-parts’ home is the base of reACT as a lifestyle system. The ability to customize a home to adapt to the occupant’s unique needs is complimented by the technologies and innovations that increase energy efficiency , power generation, comfort, self-reliance, and overall enhance sustainable living.” Related: University of Maryland’s WaterShed Solar Decathlon House Takes First Place In Architecture! The modular reACT home is designed around a central courtyard with an operable glass roof and wall panels to bring light into the interior and serve as a solar heat collector. A solar electric photovoltaic array harnesses renewable energy and stores it in an on-site battery. Residents will have the option to sell energy back to the grid. The reACT home also produces clean water through rainwater and gray water collection and treatment systems. Indoor gardening creates the home’s green core where nutrient-rich foods are grown using organic waste gathered from the composting toilet. Self-regulating building systems, achieved through automation, program the home to become more energy efficient over time as the virtual house technology learns from its environment and the occupants’ lifestyles. The reACT home is the University of Maryland’s submission to this year’s Solar Decathlon competition. Once the competition is over, reACT will be shipped back to Maryland and installed next to Maryland’s Solar Decathlon 2007 second-place house in a sustainability park for further research and development. + Solar Decathlon Images via Mike Chino

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Food-producing reACT home sustainably and intelligently adapts to your needs

Breathtakingly beautiful tiny home is surprisingly luxurious inside

October 6, 2017 by  
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Meet “The Escher”—a stunning tiny home that’ll steal your breath away. Designed and built by New Frontier Tiny Homes , this gorgeous mobile home uses clever space-saving design, high-end materials, and craftsmanship to prove that living large is possible in small spaces. The Escher combines rustic appeal with contemporary design into a surprisingly luxurious and dreamy abode. The Escher model was designed and built as a full-time family home for a couple with a child. Although the clients originally wanted the firm’s flagship model, The Alpha, they later decided on a more spacious custom-build, The Escher, which was named after their child. Shou Sugi Ban cedar siding, Red Western Cedar siding, and Federal Blue Custom Metal Siding clad the 28-foot-long Escher, while mechanical seam metal tops the roof. The home achieves its spacious feel thanks largely to tall ceilings, ample insulated glazing (in particular the 8-foot-by-8-foot glass garage door), and recessed LEDs. Solid poplar shiplap is used for the interior siding and ceiling. Ebony-stained solid walnut hardwood lines the floors. Two bedrooms are placed on either end of the home—the master bedroom with a king-size bed located in the 7.5-foot-long gooseneck, while the child’s bedroom is placed in a spacious loft accessible via a custom solid oak ladder (made with only wooden joinery). In total, the home offers seven distinct spaces: two bedrooms, kitchen, office, bathroom, walk-in closet with storage, and a dining area. The dining/living area is located in a spacious area behind the giant glass garage door that opens up the home to the outdoors. Moveable and transformable furniture make up a custom dining table, two benches, four stools, and two coffee tables that can be stored beneath the kitchen floor and provide extra hidden storage. The gorgeous kitchen features a 33-inch porcelain farmhouse apron sink with a fridge, 36-inch gas cooktop with hood, dishwasher drawer, custom cabinetry and shelving, porcelain countertops, as well as a custom copper backsplash and accents. Custom shoji paper sliding doors separate the kitchen from the master bedroom that houses a king-sized bed on a hydraulic lift that allows for full floor storage underneath. Below the loft bedroom on the opposite side of the home is the office, walk-in closet, and bathroom. The office consists of a bifold walnut standing desk and windows that open up to an outdoor bar area. The bathroom includes a composting toilet , floating sink, washer/dryer, custom tiling, herringbone pattern flooring made of ebony stained walnut, and a beautiful shower that easily fits two people. Related: Tiny home clad in burnt wood packs a ton of luxury into just 240 square feet The stunning home’s space-saving design is impressive but we think it’s the craftsmanship and detailing that elevates The Escher high above the typical tiny home. In addition to high-end appliances, the home features custom stone and timber furnishings and detailing, as well as a one-of-a-kind mural wall by 1767 Designs. Pricing for The Escher starts at $139,000. The tiny home was recently unveiled on HGTV and DIY’s “Tiny House, Big Living” television series. + New Frontier Tiny Homes

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Breathtakingly beautiful tiny home is surprisingly luxurious inside

The State of Recycling in India: Slow Improvements

October 4, 2017 by  
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In 2009, we wrote a series of articles called “Trash … The post The State of Recycling in India: Slow Improvements appeared first on Earth911.com.

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The State of Recycling in India: Slow Improvements

Coca-Cola increased its plastic bottle production by a billion in 2016

October 2, 2017 by  
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Coca-Cola increased its global production of single-use, throwaway plastic bottles by one billion in 2016, according to Greenpeace . Although the beverage behemoth does not publicly disclose its production numbers, an analysis by Greenpeace suggests a massive increase in output of plastic, which often ends up in landfills, water ways, or in large islands of trash floating in the ocean. The world’s largest soft drinks company contributes more than its fair share to a global plastic problem. It is estimated that by 2021, the global production of plastic bottles will reach half a trillion per year. Although there is a massive number of plastic bottles in circulation and being produced each year, only a small number of them are recycled. Less than half of the bottles purchased in 2016 were then returned for recycling while only 7 percent of the collected bottles were reused to create new bottles. Where do these non-recycled bottles go? Most often, they are deposited in landfills or the ocean. Between 5 million and 13 million tons of plastic seeps into seawater, where it is then ingested by birds , fish and other aquatic wildlife. According to research by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there will be more plastic, by weight, in the ocean than fish. Related: Coca Cola’s bright red Berlin HQ is actually pretty green, thanks to energy-saving design Although Coca-Cola’s plastic bottle production increase poses a problem for the planet’s health, the global beverage corporation is taking some steps to clean up its act. In July 2017, Coca-Cola European Partners announced its goal of increasing the amount of recycled plastic in each of its bottles to 50 percent by 2020. However, this goal is viewed by critics as insufficient, particularly considering that bottles could be made out of 100 percent plastic. “Coca-Cola talks the talk on sustainability but the astonishing rate at which it is pumping out single-use plastic bottles is still growing,” said Louise Edge, oceans campaigner for Greenpeace. “We have calculated it produced over 110bn throwaway plastic bottles every year – an astounding 3,400 a second – while refusing to take responsibility for its role in the plastic pollution crisis facing our oceans .” Via The Guardian Images via Greenpeace

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Coca-Cola increased its plastic bottle production by a billion in 2016

New Passenger Drone can fly you to work hands-free with zero-emissions

September 28, 2017 by  
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Get ready to commute in style. For the past three years, Passenger Drone has been developing a zero-emissions , easy-to-use passenger drone that has the potential to eliminate stressful commutes. With 16 electric engines, the drone can travel up to 80 km/h while barely making a noise. Not only will the Passenger Drone limit air and noise pollution , it could reduce stress levels and improve the general health of commuters around the world. Daily commutes to the office can be quite burdensome to the average worker. In the United States, the average travel time to work is 25.4 minutes. Most of that time is spent sitting in traffic or in public transportation — environments that can produce stress even before the workday has begun. Passenger Drone seeks to improve the overall health of the populace and reduce pollution by improving daily commutes. The newly-unveiled electric aircraft is slightly larger than a car and allows commuters to select their destination, then sit back and relax. The quick-flying drone can travel up to 80km/h, and it features a lightweight body made of carbon fiber composites. The Passenger Drone’s 16 electric engines offer some distinct advantages – according to the company, the “engine system sheds the complexity of most quad-copters providing enhanced safety, performance, greater payload and range, and less noise than anything else available on the marketplace.” Related: Drones are planting an entire forest from the sky Passenger Drone envisions the aircraft becoming the “go-to” form of daily transportation for hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of commuters in the future. Said the company, “Air travel has historically been seen as an expensive proposition, due in great part to the small volume of production seen in today’s aerospace industry. Mass production of the Passenger Drone could potentially revolutionize traditional notions of transport .” + Passenger Drone Images via Passenger Drone

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New Passenger Drone can fly you to work hands-free with zero-emissions

UNEP chief: Polluters should pay for environmental destruction, not taxpayers

September 21, 2017 by  
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Companies often profit from environmental destruction , leaving taxpayers to pick up the cleanup bill. That shouldn’t be the case, according to Erik Solheim, executive director for the United Nations Environment Program . At a conference at Columbia University earlier this week, he said, “The profit of destroying nature or polluting the planet is nearly always privatized, while the costs of polluting the planet or the cost of destroying ecosystems is nearly always socialized. This cannot continue.” Solheim said we can turn around Earth’s environmental fortunes if businesses, citizens, and politicians work for a shared goal – with the biggest polluters paying for damage. He said, “Anyone who pollutes, anyone who destroys nature must pay for the cost of that destruction or that pollution.” Related: The oil industry knew about dangerous climate change in the 1960s Two scientists made a similar point in a recent opinion piece for The Guardian, saying big oil companies should pay for climate change . The Union of Concerned Scientists’ Director of Science and Policy Peter Frumhoff and University of Oxford professor of geosystem science Myles Allen pointed to July lawsuits against ExxonMobil, BP, and Chevron, saying they should pay for damages coastal communities face from rising sea levels . They, together with other researchers, published a peer-reviewed study quantifying sea level rise and rising temperatures coming from emissions from fossil fuel companies. Solheim also said businesses must play a role by creating new technologies to address needs. He pointed to China as an example, highlighting the work of bike-sharing firm Mobike, which boasts over a million shareable bicycles in the Beijing area. Meanwhile, China is also working on transportation with a high-speed rail network and urban metro systems. He also pointed to India , where addressing environmental issues has been good for the country. Solar power has created jobs, simultaneous boosting the economy and helping the planet. Solheim said, “Change is happening. Economic-wise, we are on the right track, but we need to speed up because the challenge is so big.” Via Thomson Reuters Foundation and EcoWatch Images via Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon/Army National Guard and Steve Snodgrass on Flickr

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